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NATO bombs rebels by accident

by Jorge Hernandez on April 8, 2011

Rear Admiral Russell Harding has confirmed reports that NATO forces may have accidentally bombed Libyan rebels by the city of Brega. While he expressed his regrets for the incident, there was no notable apology forthcoming from the organization, according to The Los Angeles Times

"This is a very unfortunate incident. I strongly regret the loss of life," secretary-general of NATO Fogh Rasmussen said. "I can assure you that we do our utmost to avoid civilian casualties."

This isn't the first time that the rebel forces suffered a blow from the Allied forces that are supposed to be fighting alongside them – the news source reports that this is the second time in less than a week that the problem arose.

It seems that poor communication and fluid fighting situations may be to blame. Because it's difficult to keep track of where the rebels have gained ground and where dictator Muammar Gaddafi's forces still hold sway, the air strikes are often misdirected.

"The situation in the area is still very fluid, with tanks and other vehicles moving in different directions, making it very difficult to distinguish who may be operating them," Russell said.

In fact, it may have been the vehicles that caused the issue – Russell added that NATO forces hadn't known that the rebels were using tanks on the battlefield, so several had been struck as a consequence.

The BBC reports that at least four rebels are reported dead after the incident. On the ground, reporter Wyre Davies told the news source that there was a significant amount of anger among the Libyan forces.

He claimed that NATO had, in fact, been told that the rebels were using tanks, and even been supplied with the coordinates of the vehicles.

Last Friday, a rebel convoy was fired upon by an Allied plane and 13 Libyans were killed.  

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